I’ve seen a lot of articles recently about how New Years Resolutions are dumb and not useful… and to be honest, if all you’re going to do is on New Years say “I’m going to work out for two hours every day” then those articles are probably going to be truthful.
In reality, it is best to work on yourself personally, professional, health-wise all year long, and work on your relationships all year long as well. Never stop moving forward.
Ed mentioned this a bit yesterday – Ed and I use the New Years as a stepping stone in our goals, perhaps something you may consider yourselves. We have points during the year where we stop and talk about them to see if we need to adjust them – are we trying too much, too little? And most years we build up on the last – we want to get to 1 hour or working out every other day this year and amp up to one hour every day next year, yadda yadda. We just use January as one of those points to review and move forward – how did we do last year, what do we want to try this year.
Go ahead and try this more complex version for yourselves! As Ed mentioned yesterday, it’s quite helpful for relationships in staying open, being supportive and growing together.
That aside, what are we working on this year?
I was joking with my mother that we have a separate section for Japan this year that, although it takes up a full page in my bullet journal, can essentially be boiled down to “Be ready well before the trip and don’t go broke during it.”
We’re making sure that for a trip this big and complicated and, although we’ve gone to other countries on our own and with family and a big road trip together, this is our first big out-of-country trip together, we’ve got everything pretty lined up. Leaving the days open to pick what we want to do day of, getting from place to place and knowing where hotels are and knowing the rules is important in a place where not much English is spoken and is cash-centric.
The latter part is because, if you aren’t familiar with Japan travel (especially during the high season – we’re going during cherry blossom season), it’s not cheap. This is not a place for discount travel. Although we kept it simple for the wedding, this honeymoon is going to cost us twice as much (because, for us, the adventure together is a bigger deal!) – and that’s before shopping.
We’ve got plans like tracking costs before and during, and having a plan for how to recover, physically and financially, after the trip. A plan for rules on what we can bring back is sort of essential so we can eat when we get back!
Other goals are tangential to Japan – like exercise. We’re upping that a lot this year because in less than 3 months time we are going to be spending 30 10-12 hour days straight doing a lot of exploring and hiking. We’re going to need to be ready. I do remember from living in France for a year that adrenaline can do wonders… but I’d like to make sure my legs aren’t screaming at me.
And, following the trip, we’re going to want to stay in such good shape – would be a shame to let our health slip just because we’re not heading on an amazing adventure !
Another one only somewhat tangentially related – dating and romantic time. We always have a goal of making sure we have some time just for us – very important to maintaining a happy relationship! Not wanting to let work and stress take over our lives, we like to have goals of making sure that outside of just going out and having fun on a whim, we try to use our date jar and any date-gifts (this year I gave Ed a booklet of dates for the upcoming year) every month to mix things up and bond.
This year we’re trying to keep it cheap and casual – because for the first 3 months on top of work and life being, as I like to say, life-y, we have a big trip to prepare for. Than after said trip, we’ve got to make sure we don’t crash and burn financially. Or crash and burn mentally – which many people can relate to the down that comes after the high of planning and then doing something major.
On that topic – an interesting goal this year that we’re both working on independently is being positive. After reading an article on negativity retraining your brain to be negative on a more regular basis, we decided that it was true enough that negativity seems to dominate a lot of society these days, and it has crept into our own lives. We are both more cynical and less trusting, and like most of the internet seem to regularly need to have our faith restored in humanity.
So we’re trying a couple things this year to retrain ourselves to be positive first and foremost – a very hard task. I’m intrigued to see just how hard it’s going to be, and how much of a difference it’s going to make in our lives.
We’ve got a few others that are the usual domestic type things – changes to the house, finances, etc. But I wanted to share one big tip:
The way I’ve told you about our goals is not how we set them, that’s me writing a blog post we can then nod back to later. When, we make goals – well, have you heard of SMART goals? We try to keep them in mind. The S, M and T stand for Specific, Measurable and Time-related.
So when we make these goals, we are specific, measurable and time-related. For example, we have said that “any debt accumulated in Japan will be paid off in 3 months after the trip.” For this goal, you know exactly what is to be done (pay off any debt from Japan), you know how to measure it completeness (did it get paid off) and we have given ourselves a time to do it in (3 months after the trip).
This makes it much easier to accomplish.
And for bigger goals, we give ourselves milestones. For example, for gym time you could say 30 minutes every other day up to March, 1 hour every other day up to June, 1 hour every day up to September, etc.
So that’s my piece on goals! We’ll probably do future Thoughtful Thursday posts on some of these every so often – so look out for that!